Amongst young adults, more people die of cancer than any other disease.
Most of us know people who are affected by cancer. You have seen a family member struggle with the disease, a good friend, or perhaps yourself. No matter what type of cancer you are faced with, going through the physical struggles and the mental stress can be challenging and lonely (to say the least) and impactful in many ways. That is where the non-profit organization First Descents comes in, with Wet Planet grateful to play a supporting role. First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives, and connect with others doing the same.
Throughout June and July, Wet Planet will host four week-long First Descents kayaking camps, in addition to one weekend camp. Around 75 cancer fighters and survivors from all over the country will travel to The Columbia River Gorge with First Descents to spend a week on the river with us, both kayaking and rafting.
Each program is limited to 15 participants, ensuring individualized care, medical attention and an intimate experience with fellow survivors. First Descents programs are available to young adults regardless of their financial means. All meals, accommodations and program activities are provided free of charge, including travel scholarships when needed.
Learn more about First Descents in this moving video.
Since 2010, Wet Planet has been hosting week long kayaking camps, allowing fighters and survivors of any type of cancer and in various stages of cancer to have a week of uncomplicated fun on the river. But it is much more than simply having fun. They are empowered to kayak rivers, forget about cancer for a time, build confidence, enjoy the moment, and connect with peers who are going through the same experience as they are.
These camps form the highlight of the summer for many folks working at Wet Planet as well – instructors, guides and base staff. Everyone plays their role and wants to be involved and contribute to the campers’ positive experience in their own special way.
“Each summer I feel privileged to be able to witness the affect that this program has on the lives of cancer fighters. Still, what has truly surprised me most about First Descents is the impact it has had on my own personal outlook. Working with this organization is an incredibly inspirational experience,” says Wet Planet kayak instructor and river manager Dave Seal.
While Wet Planet hugely discounts the camps, First Descents still needs your support to fund their growing program: in 2014 they hosted 30+ camps all around the country.
The kayaking community in the Gorge, spearheaded by Hood River’s Kayak Shed, is hosting a Paddling Film Festival in the hopes to raise funds to donate to First Descents. Please come out to support the event and the successful cause that is First Descents. This is your chance to help support this amazing program!
If you want to learn more about what you can do to help support First Descents in the Gorge, give us a call at Wet Planet.